Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Hamster Homicides: Confessions of a Serial Hamster Killer

When I was  just a little tastrophie in the making, I developed my love of all things furry. Since Mom knew, as all Moms know, that mini-tastrophie was not going to engage in any real care and feeding of the animals no matter how much she swore she would keep her room clean, feed it and love it every day, she was not going to hold up to her end of the bargin.  And that Mom would be the one to walk the dog, clean up after the cat and feed both, she wisely denied all my pleas for a larger pet.  She new better and thus regulated my fur ownership to small caged animals instead of the ones that had to be walked or scooped daily.  

After days of endless whining on my part (a precursor to my days of endless b*tching, I assure you), Mom took me to the local pet store to pick out my new furry friend.  Some how I wasn't a rat person and a gerbil looked too much like a mouse-kangaroo hybrid for my taste, so I settled on the cutest teddy bear hamster the store had to offer.  He was golden and white and had checks that could hold an entire bag of sunflower seeds.  With my being the creative person I am; I named him "Goldie".  Not too sure he was happy about a being given a girl's name, but he never complained.  

After a short period of time Goldie died.  I don't know if it was from my constant feeding, or the fact that two days prior to his demise he had escaped from his happy habitrail home and woke up Mom in the middle of the night by crawling up her leg onto her chest.  Mom responded by using a combination back-handed-bitch-slap with a terror-induced-throw-down ending in Goldie making direct and hard contact with the wall across the room.  So Cause of Death, while never fully determined by necropsy, was either internal hemorrhage or internal fat.  This began what would be my brief, but high body count, foray into the world of hamster homicide.

It was purely accidental, I assure you.  And it is not like I am proud of the fact, that in the world of serial killers, (if the FBI included hamster body counts), I would probably be at the top of the most wanted list making John Wayne Gacey look like an amateur.  

Goldie made it about a month in my house before he went to the big habitrail in the sky.  I was broken hearted.  I cried for two hours and in an attempt to get me to finally shut me up, Mom agreed to let me get another hamster.  Off to the same pet store that bore Goldie to find me a new furry friend.  
"Squirmmie" (Are you seeing a pattern to my pet-naming skills?) was the second and longest lasting of my hamsters.  He lasted about four months before joining Goldie in the Great Hamster Valhalla.  COD in his case was clear cut.  He had an "unfortunate" wheel accident and that is all I can say about that.  It wasn't pretty and I am still a little traumatized by the whole thing.

Back to the SAME pet-store we go. At this point the store owner has started to look at me a little funny and the other hamsters have begun backing away from the front of the cage when they see me.  But this time I was going to be smart.  Since the boy hamsters couldn't hack it in my house, I picked a girl hamster.  I also managed to pick the hamster version of the happy hooker, cause this one came all ready knocked up.  Hammie (Do you see now why I don't have kids?  Can you imagine what I would have called them?) managed to increase the hamster to human ratio in my house by 5:1.  Pretty impressive for a creature only seven inches long.  After a few months, I discovered that hamsters are faster at breeding than rabbits.  Six became 12, then 24, and so on....  I had my own stock piled hamster stash and the only thing that kept these little tribbles from over taking my house was my ability to "level the playing field".

I like to think of it was "loving them to death".  In my need to overcompensate for the deaths of my first two, I made sure there was an endless food supply.  I shoved anything and everything I thought a hamster could and would eat into that cage. My methods weren't always clean or consistent.  After all I was only about 7 years old and couldn't remember when I had or had not fed them last.  Feast or famine was my modus operandi, plus on occasion I had help from others.  Hamsters are worse than the Mob at taking out others who get in line for their goods and there is no love loss when taking out your sibling if he cuts in line for the sunflower seeds. Pure carnage in a plastic coliseum. 

In the end it wasn't pretty.  It took fourteen months and countless bags of hamster food, but I managed to single-handedly reduce the hamster:human ratio to 0:3.  By then I had run out of places in the back patio garden (we lived in an apartment) to bury the bodies.  I had begun secretly disposing of my "hamster packs" in spots along the leasing office bushes, in trash dumpsters, and one mass grave in the playground sand pit.  While that did cause quite the ruckus among the other apartment adults, no one asked any questions and Mom stopped asking me where the bodies were going.  I think some things a parent does not want to know about their child.  

Eventually they were all gone and Mom carted the well used habitrail to the dumpster for good. After the last one was gone, I did not have another pet until I was well into my teens.  By then I had learned the rules of responsible pet ownership.  Yet as Karma has always done, she was not about to let my hamster homicides to go unanswered.  Since that fateful year, every pet that I have ever owned has had some illness/disease/injury that was answered in the biggest of Karmic-pay-backs: the over-priced vet visit.  My guilt at having taken so many lives now manifests itself in spoiling my cats.  Thus I have one very large, toothless cat and one who's lack of navigational skills cause her to miss the litter every time.  And every now and then, when the pocket book is empty and the vet bill is large; I think I hear the soft squeaking giggles of a couple of dozen hamsters getting even.

Thanks to Dr. Zibbs who's equal opportunity offending of little people inspired this blog.


Krystle said...

Do I laugh or do I cry? I think I did both. :o)

Vanessa said...

I was nervous when I saw the title, and having had many hamsters, I know how "fragile" they can be. I also know how stubborn they can be and sometimes you wish for one less hamster (terrible wish isn't it?) and yet they hang on for dear life running on that wheel nightly. I'm proud to say right now, I have ONE hamster. Just one. Franklin.

Coolred38 said...

I totally had a hamster named Hammie some years back. He escaped his mansion and hid out in the apartment for 2 weeks. When he finally came staggering out from under a kitchen cabinet...he was as round as a beach ball and his cheeks were stuffed with old cereal, peanuts, and uncooked macaroni.

Im sitting here thinking and I have no idea what became of him....hmmm? Got me some thinking to do.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

@Krystle: I know. It was sad, but funny. I swear I did not mean to kill them. I just kept giving them food until I think they ate themselves into a coma.

@Vanessa: Oh had forgotten about Franklin. You had pictures of him on your blog. Yeah, one is a really good number when it comes to hamsters.

@Coolred38: Did you ever read Charlotte's Web? Your description of your Hammie has me thinking about Templton at the fair. Fat and rolling around after having gorged himself on all the trash.

Coolred38 said...

btw I was telling my sister about your mother "bitch slapping" the hamster into a coma...(which is just dilerious with hilarity) and she reminded me of the hamster she had when young. It escaped (see a pattern emerging here) and one night my mother was sleeping and distinctly recalls something climbing on her face and licking the drool from her mouth (ew right)...she slapped that invader off while half asleep...never knew what it was but assumed it was the hamster when it showed up dead a few days later with apparent head trauma....seems like a common mode of death for poor hamsters...ouch!

For sure I have read Charlottes Web...and now that you mention it Templeton exactly describes Hammie...thanks for the chuckle.

LarryLilly said...

My wife was like you except she had no resources other than what as a 4 year old could muster, like a few bottles for the bottle deposit. When she could get 25 cents, she would go to the pet store and get a mouse. She couldnt get a proper cage, so she used a shoe box. Yep, cardboard. And in two days the mouse would eat a hole in it and disappear. She lived in an hobo tent city in California then, so once it escaped, it was gone for good, but she kept at it. Finally after a couple of months and several mice later the pet store owner asked her what was she doing with ALL the mice she was buying. When she told him, he gave her a small wire cage. She still loves animals all these years. And dont ever abuse one in front of her. She was a girlfriend of a guy in a "social" club in the Oakland area back in the late 50's, and a guy that lived in her apartment building kicked a cat for peeing in his caddy convertible. She went and got a quart of gasoline, and with him sitting in the car playing tunes, she tossed the gasoline into the back seat along with a Bic. The car burst into flames, the guy just getting his ass out in time. Because he knew who she hung with, he never did anything about it. Its alright, the statue of limitations passed along time ago LOL.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I played basketball with a guy named Goldie, so don't think that hamster body number 1 was that offended by your insufficient moniker applying abilities.

My boss has a hamster. He got it for his kids. Apparently, when hamster boys come of age, their testicles are half the length of their body. And he can retract them at will.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

@coolred38 ~ Who knew that slappin'-the-hamster was such a popular method of dealing with those bed-hopping little buggers :-)

@LarryLilly: Good for her!! I would have done the same thing. I learned my lesson that year and now I am a big animal defender.

@Mjenks ~ I had completely forgotten about the hamster nuts! That is so true. My Mom tried to convince me that they were not really turning into girls every time their nuts disappeared. Not a concept I was really able to grasp until a few years older. But I do know that even though Hamster heuvos are huge, squirrel nuts are still pound-for-pound bigger :-) Oh the strange ass things I know.

Bean Counting Knitter said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing story. I feel inspired to share my childhood pet stories on my blog.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

@Bean Counter: share away! And keep sharing the knitting. YOu inspire me every time.

dg said...

Awe inspiring. I never had a hamster. Always cats. And now a giant drooling beast-dog. But never a hamster.

I loved your story!